Operation Book Club, Part 8

Reading has come in very handy when I’ve been trying to unwind after searching and applying for jobs lately. It relaxes me, it clears my mind, and best of all, there’s no pressure to do it in the first place. There are none of the same expectations from others that come with looking for employment, so I’m free to take as long as I like on a book, and that comes in especially handy when the work in question is a weighty tome like my current read, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In actual fact, it’s a re-read – I first tackled it for one of my degree modules in 2019, an experience I found myself reflecting on in my book club notes once I’d decided to revisit it:

“I was one of the only people in the class to read this from cover to cover during my Rewriting and Adapting module – all 418 pages of it – but at that time assignments were looming, so I was feeling a certain amount of pressure to absorb every detail. Because of that, the novel felt like a hard slog, like it was never going to end. Eventually, I forced myself to stay in the library until I’d finished it, and I now suspect that that blinded me to some of its finer points. I do remember thinking that its approach to storytelling – its habit of switching between different perspectives and presenting these in epistolary form – was unlike anything I’d seen before. It was a refreshing change from what I normally saw in prose fiction, and it must be worth a reappraisal if I’m writing about it here!”

I scribbled that paragraph at least two weeks ago. Here’s what I wrote when I actually got going on the first chapter a little while later:

“At Page 15 – this book is just as long-winded as I remember! There is a lot of exposition, with nearly every detail of Jonathan’s surroundings and encounters brought vividly to life. This immerses you in the story and builds a clear picture of the danger that awaits him, but it also makes you feel like things aren’t moving very quickly, and you’re sat there willing the chapter to go a little faster.”

Even if you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about here, you probably get the idea. Yes, Jonathan’s journey to Castle Dracula might be a long and arduous one, but do we have to hear about all of it? I’ve barely even scratched the surface yet!

I’d like to think I’m a fairly resilient reader, so while many might give up at this point, I’m going to press on. It’s true that you should never judge a book by its cover, but it’s also true that you shouldn’t judge it by its first 15 pages, even if they do feel more like 1,500. There are plenty more still to go, and I’m sure they’ll be better, won’t they?

Won’t they?!



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